I’m regularly informed by the older people in my life that I’m obsessed with technology. What I want to know is why is technology so obsessed with me?
I don’t necessarily mean in the whole privacy and tracking sense; I mean that electronic devices and I have a history. Specifically, the unhealthy relationship kind of history, in which the other party constantly asks me for my location, needlessly disrupts my life, and dramatically drowns itself when it doesn’t get enough attention.
This incident, surprisingly, involved no water. It wasn’t any less dramatic, though.
Monday morning, Mom showed me a couple of laptop deals on Amazon. I’d only had my laptop, an Acer Aspire R13 with a cool but entirely unnecessary rotating screen, for a year and a half, but three jagged cracks already ran the length of its grimy face and it retained only a fifth of its advertised battery life. It had basically survived a war, if you understand “war” to mean careless tossing, laziness, and irresponsible charging.
I browsed through the product specifications of Mom’s chosen laptops and pointed out a few favorites to keep in mind for a future upgrade before both of us went back to decomposing in front of the TV and forgetting about the conversation.
Four hours later, my laptop suddenly shut down. I figured random shutdowns were just its way of expressing disapproval for my having postponed updates for way too long—like it’d decided that if I was going to click “update later” every day for another year it might as well just override my authority now—and thought nothing of it. But when it powered back on, I noticed that some of the keys weren’t responding.
At first it was “r.” I pressed the key harder. The “r” appeared. Again. Nothing. Typing every key out onto Notepad, I found half the keys in the top two rows were becoming unresponsive.
Unresponsive keys, a progression
- Here’s a short test sentence typed to demonstrate the deterioration of my keys and mental health.
- Hee’s a sht test sentence typed t demnstate the deteiatin f my keys and mental healh.
- Hee’s a sh es senence ped demnsae he deeiain f my keys and menal healh.
It looked like I was having a stroke. On second thought, I might’ve actually been having a stroke. I mean, my laptop is, after all, my most valuable possession. (Haven’t recently rung up pricing for my kidneys, but I suspect I don’t drink nearly enough water for them to be worth much.)
Considering that this breakdown was a tantrum in response to my earlier perusal of other laptops, I whispered affirmations into the screen. Fruitless. I then restarted the laptop and quickly found myself unable to login. I couldn’t enter my password because it included some of the broken keys.
By the time I thought of finding the on-screen keyboard, I’d already become a shell of who I once was. I started alternating typing and clicking, which was probably only a little faster than hunt-and-peck typing but infinitely sadder.
I held out like this for the rest of my time in Taiwan as I started backing up files to my uncle’s disk drive and scrambling to order a replacement before school started. Thinking about it now, the experience didn’t set me back too far, given that I hadn’t lost any info and would’ve had to dump the laptop eventually. I guess I’m just indignant it got to dump me first.
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